Skip to Content

A Guide to the Best Things to do in Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Last Updated on 18th June 2024 by Sophie Nadeau

A pleasant town which is often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbours such as Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieur-sur-Mer is a pastiche of Art Nouveau buildings surrounded by small boats gently bobbing in the azure blue water that the French Riviera is so famed for. Here are the best things to do in Beaulieu-sur-Mer and what to know before you go.

beaulieu sur mer guide

History of Beaulieu

The history of the town dates back to prehistoric times when the Ligurians built the port area. Shortly after, the Romans took over the site.

Much later, in 1860, the Kingdom of Savoy was annexed to France, leaving the town of Beaulieu to become Frenchified. At this time Beaulieu was part of the municipality of Villefranche sur Mer, until 1891 when the French Parliament voted in favour of the separation.

Beaulieu was then renamed Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which translates from French to ‘beautiful place on the sea’. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, the charming seaside town began to draw in tourists, becoming a winter retreat for the elite and wealthy.

Today, Beaulieu-sur-Mer is a popular Mediterranean resort destination, where visitors can enjoy its abundance of magnificent architecture, attractions, local markets and beautiful beaches. This pocket of the French Riviera is one of the smallest villages, but not to be missed!

flower shop in beaulieu sur mer

How long do you need in Beaulieu?

I suggest spending an afternoon, around 4-5 hours in Beaulieu, this will be sufficient time to see the town’s main sights and soak up its charm. However, many people spend longer! Easy to fall in love with, Beaulieu is a tranquil pocket of beauty and makes for a great place to base yourself while exploring the French Riviera.

street in beaulieu

Best things to do in Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Villa Kérylos

Visit the dream of French archaeologist Theodore Reinach, which came to life in the form of an ancient Greek villa, Kérylos. This enchanting site sits by the sparkling blue sea and is an architectural gem of Beaulieu-sur-Mer.

Built in the early 1900s, Reinach was particularly fascinated by Greek civilisation and asked architect Emmanuel Pontremoli to draw inspiration from the architecture, decor and art of the ancient world to recreate the atmosphere of an elegant Greek house.

Taking 6 years to build, the villa was completed in 1908. Named after Kérylos (kingfisher), a bird considered to be a good omen in Greek mythology. Villa Kérylos was left to the Institut de France, so after years of the Reinach family enjoying this summer home, it was eventually opened to the public as a museum, allowing visitors to also enjoy this majestic space.

Today, a walk around the fully furnished Mediterranean house exudes opulence and leaves visitors feeling as though they’ve stepped back in time to a wealthy family home of ancient times. Elaborately decorated with influences from Rome, Pompeii and Egypt.

Every intimate detail of the design has been well thought out, from marble, carved exotic woods, regal furniture, gold leaf painting and hand-embroidered hangings. Surrounding the villa is a vibrant burst of colour, an oasis of vines, olive trees, pomegranate trees and pines and cypresses.

Villa Kérylos is open daily from 10 AM – 4:45 PM, an adult admission fee is €13.

Musee du Patrimoine Berlugan Andre Cane

This museum is dedicated to the local history of Beaulieu-sur-Mer. Filled with old pictures, postcards, Roman ceramics and anecdotes, visitors can learn in-depth about the evolution of this thriving little community that resides by the sea.

The opening times are limited to Thursday 2 PM – 4 PM (all year) and Tuesday 10 AM – 12 PM ( March- October).

Wander along the seafront

One of the most enjoyable activities to do in Beaulieu-sul-Mer is simply to stroll along the waterfront and soak up the tranquillity and beauty of this charming seaside town. Along the promenade, you’ll come across verdant gardens lined with palm trees, two sanded beaches and two ports, where you can watch the boats bob gently in the water.

sea front beaulieu

Head to the beach

Beaulieu is home to two sandy beaches: Plage des Fourmis and Plage Petite Afrique, both of which are minutes away from the centre of town. A perfect place to take a dip, particularly in the summer months when the temperatures are high.

beach beaulieu
This was taken in the wintertime, hence the buildup of seaweed! In summer months the beaches are protected from jellyfish by a netting put around the swimming areas.

Admire the architecture

The French Riviera is renowned worldwide for its prestige and iconic architecture, and in Beaulieu, the case remains the same!

Marvel at the blend of Art Nouveau and Belle Epoque influences on the architecture of the town. Wandering through Beaulieu-sul-Mer has the feel of starring in a Hollywood movie, surrounded by grand, elegant and emblematic villas that hold a rich history.

architecture beaulieu

Eglise du Sacre-Coeur de Beaulieu 

This church was built in the 19th century to keep up with Beaulieu-sun-Mer’s rapidly growing community. Designed by architect Joseph Bovis, the church was consecrated in 1903 and is a beautiful expression of Belle Epoque architecture.

The church is open daily from 8 AM – 8 PM.

Square de Verdun

One of the prettiest spots in town is the Square de Verdun. This gorgeously green area is populated with a wide variety of exotic plants and small sculptures, it also offers stunning views overlooking the beach and port area. There’s also a small play park for children within.

square de verdun

Head to the Market

Every day throughout the year on the main street there is a small market, which mainly sells local produce like fruits and vegetables and is held between 8 AM – 12:30 PM. Please note, that the market is closed on Sunday.

However, if you happen to be visiting on a Saturday, you can see the Provençal Market which happens between 8 AM – 1 PM. This market is much bigger and sells a wide variety of local produce, crafts, textiles, fresh flowers and all the market treasures you can imagine!

Where to stay in Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Beaulieu-sur-Mer is one of the smallest villages on the French Riviera, and it makes for a tranquil spot to base yourself and explore the wider region. It’s a location that suits those looking for a quieter spot from the busier towns. That being said, accommodation along the French Riviera can be costly.

Here are a few suggestions on where to stay (based on web reviews):

Hotel Carlton – Located just 300 meters from the beach, this hotel also has its own outdoor swimming pool and a bar. Offering free WiFi, private parking and classic-style rooms. Check prices and availability here.

Hotel Select – This small family-run hotel is situated a stone’s throw away from Saturday’s Provencal marketplace. Views from the rooms are either over the vibrant marketplace or of panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains. Free WiFi is available. Check prices and availability here.

building in beaulieu

Enjoyed reading about the best things to do in Beaulieu-sur-Mer? Pin this article now, read it again later:

best things to do in Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Charlotte is a photographer, cat lover and an avid knitter. When she’s not curled up on the sofa with her newest knitting project (and Rico her cat!) you can find her out and about on long walks. Currently living in the magical city of Edinburgh, she looks forward to travelling and seeing more of the world!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.